When you're feeling stressed or mentally drained it's much easier to reach for a bag of potato chips than a handful of almonds! Junk food gives us that instant gratification we all sometimes need. But did you know eating certain fruits and vegetables could actually help improve both your short and longer term mental health? Here are 6 different types of foods that can help boost your mood.
Ever wonder why so many people say avocados are life? For starters they have a high amount of monounsaturated fatty acids – a healthy fat which has been shown to help reduce blood cholesterol levels, and even overall stress reduction. They also contain potassium which is important in maintaining fluid balance within the cells to reduce mental fatigue.
Bananas contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid that helps your brain produce serotonin – also known as one of the 'happy hormones'. Serotonin is a mood regulator, and having the high levels makes us feel happy and relaxed. Bananas also well known for high levels of potassium, which has been associated with improved mental health in recent studies
Blueberries may as well be called happiness berries because of their ability to help improve mental health! Studies have shown a correlation between anxiety symptoms and low antioxidant levels – as blueberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamins, they make for a mood-boosting snack. Blueberries also have high melatonin content which helps regulate our sleep cycle. A good, restful nights sleep is crucial for mental health.
Carrots may be one of the best mood boosters out there, thanks to high levels of Vitamin A, which is essential to mental health and mental stress, and Vitamin B6 which can help decrease mental fatigue. To gain the maximum benefits eat your carrots steamed – this preserves more nutrients than boiling, and avoids digestion issues that can be caused by eating raw carrots.
Popeye's favourite! Spinach is full of vitamins and essential nutrients – calcium, iron, potassium, Vitamins A and C. The super veggie is said to have "anti-stress effects", and may be linked to reduced depression and lower levels of brain deterioration. An easy and delicious way to ensure you get all the benefits of spinach in your diet is to blend the leafy greens into your smoothie (as boiling or steaming may reduce the nutrient levels).